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Malta has an affluent history dating back approximately 5500 – 4500 years. It went through various eras, the most prominent of which is the Neolithic period. The UNESCO World Heritage sites in Malta are a testimony of this. The temples listed as UNESCO Heritage sites are the Ġgantija, Ta’ Ħaġrat, Skorba, Ħaġar Qim, Mnajdra and Tarxien, all dedicated to the goddess of fertility.

The highly civilised Phoenicians came to Maleth (Malta) c. 750 B.C. establishing the islands as a trade route, followed by the Carthaginians who conquered Malta around 480 B.C. for about two and a half centuries. During this time, the local industry was limited to olive cultivation and textiles. 

The Roman conquest of the islands at the second Punic War in 218 B.C. etched Malta in the history books forever. Historians often stumble upon written records concerning Malta as from the aforementioned date.  

After the end of the 4th Century, the Eastern Roman Empire neglected the Maltese Islands. Consequently, the Byzantines took over and ruled for 375 years before Malta was taken by the Arabs in 870 AD.

Having conquered Sicily from the Arabs, Count Roger and his forces retreated to Malta in 1090. Under his rule, Malta famously inherited the flag and solidified ties with various noble families across Europe. This entailed access to additional resources. 

Malta changed hands once again. Under the rule of Emperor Charles V of Spain, Malta was feudalised to a number of landowners before finally being handed to the Knights of the Order of St. John. The ensuing 250 years saw a complete overhaul of the islands. All their work is well documented and visible through the Knight’s architectural and artistic contributions.

In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte ousted the Knights and brought with him a supposedly fresh start. However, instability ensued. By that time, the British Empire was establishing itself as the dominant super power. In fact, just two years after the arrival of Napoleon, the British took over. Having expelled the French, the British were initially uncertain as to whether they should maintain jurisdiction over Malta. In fact, the Treaty of Amiens in 1802 was an attempt to handover Malta to the Order of St. John, but some locals were not keen on living under their former rulers and requested to remain under British protection.

Historically speaking, the British era marks a comprehensive change for Malta. The most prominent dates under British rule are the two World Wars and Maltese Independence. Today, their legacy lives on in many aspects of daily life in Malta.

The British rule lasted until Independence Day in 1964, later becoming a republic in 1974. The British military presence on the island officially came to an end in 1979. Eleven years later, Malta applied for EU accession.

Malta became a member of the European Union in 2004. 


 
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